Snapplify makes e-textbook procurement easy
For many schools, Snapplify’s simple solutions have made the adoption of digital education easy. Not only have educators seen just how easy procurement and delivery of e-textbooks can be in the digital age, but they’ve discovered how digital tools can transform their classrooms.
Easy-peasy ebook access
While the procurement of physical textbooks can be a lengthy and complicated, purchasing e-textbooks via Snapplify is quick and easy.
Snapplify’s diverse catalogue of high-quality, curriculum-aligned, diverse content from trusted educational publishers – both local and international – means that schools don’t need to deal with multiple providers, nor do they need to worry about titles going out of stock, becoming out of date, or taking time to arrive. Instead, Snapplify is what Colin Zinyeredzi – Resource Centre Manager at Parklands College South Africa – calls a ‘one-stop shop for educational and leisure reading material’. With Snapplify’s prescribed lists, schools can purchase on behalf of students and staff, or direct parents to purchase exactly what they need from the Snapplify Engage e-learning platform, via credit card or EFT. Quality devices are also readily available directly from Snapplify.
Each year, students can be issued with the latest e-textbooks without paper waste or returns of older books. Institutions can also monitor e-textbook usage through Snapplify Insights, and use this valuable data to inform future budgeting decisions and content choices. Colin Zinyeredzi has found this feature particularly useful, saying, ‘The system automatically manages the circulation of resources and even more importantly – it keeps a record of important statistics,’ while his colleague, Martin Levitt, ICT support technician at the same school echoes this, sharing: ‘[Snapplify] has made management much easier in getting the correct content to the learners and educators. Engage is an excellent tool that we use to keep track of our users and the titles they have.’
Several schools using Snapplify have noted how beneficial it is for students to have all their ebooks and e-textbooks in one place. Grant Lewis, ICT integrator at Crawford College La Lucia has spoken about how their ‘learners are loving their ebooks and the Snapplify Reader experience’, going on to say that ‘Snapplify has played a huge part in helping us transform our school into a more effective learning environment.’ Teacher Chanica Gibhard from Oakley House, a remedial school in Cape Town, shares how the reader app has specifically helped her students: ‘It can help every child differently. The technology just makes it a lot easier to target those needs. It brings everything together into one device.”
The best ebooks around
Not only does Snapplify work hard to make access to ebooks simple and seamless, but the company has also ensured that their ebook and e-textbook offering is world-class and widely applicable for schools across multiple regions. With over 285 000 titles, Snapplify boasts the largest catalogue of local and international ebooks in Africa covering multiple curricula, including national curriculum materials for South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe and international curricula such as the Cambridge curriculum and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
After signing up for Engage Basic, schools get immediate, free access to open-source textbooks and teacher guides (e.g. from Siyavula, Sasol Inzalo Foundation, and Ukuqonda Institute). Students are also able to download free past exam papers for revision purposes, children’s books in all official South African languages, as well as classic literature – from Shakespeare’s plays to classic novels and poetry anthologies.
To grow the digital library offering, additional ebooks and e-textbooks from leading local and international publishers can be purchased quickly and easily. As the exclusive digital distributor for Zoom In – the innovative digital study series by Oxford University Press – Snapplify is able to offer users high-quality interactive resources (including free samples) that allow for deeper understanding of the subject matter. Covering the major South African subjects for Grades 10–12, in both English and Afrikaans, the Zoom In interactive products are designed to help students tackle tough exam concepts, giving them the confidence to conquer all their exam questions.
Snapplify’s wide range of leisure reading ebooks is entertaining and informative for readers across various age groups and reading levels – from reluctant readers to budding bookworms. As one Grade 5 learner, Hannah Henderson from Curro Durbanville, shares, ‘I think more people who do not read will read more because you can add more books which have a movie, like Captain Underpants.’ This is especially important as research shows that children who enjoy books are more likely to perform better academically.
Still, while some schools have dived into digital education with both feet, others are dipping their toes in the water, preferring a blended learning approach. With Snapplify, it’s not necessary to abandon older resources, to upgrade existing infrastructure, or to invest heavily in LMSs and devices at the outset.
Not only is the Snapplify Reader application compatible with multiple devices, but Snapplify for Education works seamlessly alongside other e-learning products, integrating with existing education product suites from Google Classroom and Microsoft Education. Another teacher from Oakley House, David Correira, shares how easy it was to register: ‘Since we were already a Google school and using Google Classroom, those email addresses were already set up, so when we moved over to the Snapplify platform, transferring those email addresses across made life a lot easier.’ With these simple administrative tools and forthcoming Google Groups integration, educators can continue teaching digitally and collaborating with students efficiently, without interruptions.
For schools that need new devices, hardware device procurement can be done at the same time as e-textbooks for the new year, through Snapplify’s school portal – Engage.
Whether students, parents, educators and other staff are au fait with e-learning technology, or whether they need extra support, Snapplify offers extensive technical assistance and excellent customer service. And when it comes to procurement, Snapplify’s friendly sales team can work hand-in-hand with schools on prescribed book lists. ‘[Snapplify] consistently impressed me with their efficiency and competence. From our initial engagements, through the creation of our grade book lists, and on to the customising of our platform, they have guided us every step of the way,’ remarks Grant Lewis, ICT integrator at Crawford College La Lucia, South Africa.
This year, after Snapplify was awarded two prestigious awards at the 2019 Reimagine Education Conference in San Francisco, Nunzio Quacquarelli (CEO of QS Quacquarelli Symonds and co-founder of Reimagine Education) commended Snapplify’s work, saying that ‘we believe that learners in Africa will benefit hugely – and in their millions – from Snapplify’s innovative approach to enhancing e-learning. It is user-friendly, learner-centric, and is doing admirable work to bring more and more schools into the digital age.’ From on-time e-textbook delivery to easy access and technical support, Snapplify has everything your school needs for e-learning success.
Engage Basic also allows schools to try out a limited number of e-learning features for free. Sign up here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about your specific needs and how we can work together.
New partnerships with local and international investors take Snapplify to the next level
Leading global edtech company, Snapplify, has secured $2 million expansion capital from venture capital firm Knife Capital, and empowered African investment manager Hlayisani Capital’s Hlayisani Growth Fund. The funding will boost the company’s continued growth into new markets.
‘We’ve been following Snapplify’s impressive growth journey since inception and it is a privilege to finally partner with the company and its stakeholders,’ says Andrea Bohmert, Co-Managing Partner at Knife Capital, adding: ‘Africa faces a wide range of social and economic challenges, from access to affordable tertiary education, to a skills shortage across a number of key industries. Though it would be over-optimistic to say that e-learning alone can solve these problems, the impact is clearly measurable. At Knife Capital we believe in investing in companies that solve real problems and in doing so generate meaningful returns to stakeholders and shareholders alike. Snapplify is such a company and we look forward to being part of the next growth phase.’ Bohmert will join Snapplify’s board of directors.
Snapplify is at the forefront of edtech innovations in Africa, and specialises in enabling digital learning for individuals and institutions by establishing a marketplace for digital education content, related educational services, and devices. Since 2012, Snapplify has grown and expanded into new markets in Africa, Europe and the United States, with offices across South Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban), as well as in Nairobi, Amsterdam and New Jersey.
Snapplify’s award-winning e-learning solutions are used in South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mauritius, Tanzania, Rwanda and further afield. In addition to this growth, Knife Capital’s London presence will further facilitate Snapplify’s UK expansion initiatives. The $2-million growth funding will enable the company to gain more customers and increase its market footprint through business development, growing its team and refining customer-led product features.
‘Snapplify is looking to change the way students access content in both developed and developing countries,’ says Snapplify CEO Wesley Lynch. ‘We are excited to have Knife Capital and Hlayisani on board to enable this vision, particularly because in addition to financial backing, we also need expert guidance from an aligned shareholder base to expand more aggressively into new markets in our next growth phase,’ he adds. Snapplify was originally backed by AngelHub Ventures in its seed and Series-A rounds, alongside international investors. AngelHub now forms part of Hlayisani Capital’s Growth Fund that includes a focus on education and edtech. The Hlayisani grouping includes Dr Reuel Khoza as well as the original AngelHub funders: Michael Jordaan and the Harris family.
Snapplify’s solutions are industry celebrated and globally recognised for their innovation in technology. The Snappbox, Snapplify’s hardware distribution solution for ebooks, allows schools with limited or no connectivity to access learning materials, saving data and download time. Most recently, Snapplify was the recipient of two prestigious awards at the 2019 Reimagine Education Conference in San Francisco. In 2017, and again in 2019, Snapplify was recognised by the London Stock Exchange Group as one of their Companies to Inspire Africa – an honour that led to an invitation to speak with policy makers in New York at the United Nations headquarters in July 2019.
Brett Commaille, Partner at Hlayisani adds: ‘Snapplify is a globally competitive business that has excelled with a powerful and relevant solution for both emerging and developed markets. It is fantastic to build on the platform that was established with the initial investment from AngelHub by bringing investors such as Knife and Hlayisani on board to ensure that Snapplify continues its journey as one of the companies to inspire Africa.’
Snapplify currently has over 200 000 registered users at 1400 schools, has surpassed 2.6 million ebook/ e-textbook downloads, and continues to receive 15–20 new registrations from schools across the African continent, each day – a volume which evidences the growing demand for digital educational tools. As well as working with schools directly, the company works with various governments and education departments to roll out e-learning solutions and materials to classrooms across the continent.
This year, Snapplify announced its intentions to work closely with other companies and non-profit organisations to bolster South Africa’s education sector. Through Snapplify sponsorships, companies can make a difference in literacy and education by providing high-quality, accessible e-learning solutions to schools and students that need them. Snapplify’s CSI initiative is in line with the regional goals of government stakeholders, as well as other international initiatives that work to bridge the digital divide by implementing sponsored ICT solutions in schools. Snapplify’s corporate sponsorship model also provides opportunities for marketplace partners to promote their services within Snapplify’s e-learning platform, Engage.
Knife Capital and Hlayisani Growth Fund join an already formidable set of backers behind Snapplify – which includes Nustate Capital, and private UK investors.
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Snapplify offers schools world-class digital tools as official Google for Education partner
With a long history of helping teachers and students to discover and learn digitally, pan-African edtech company Snapplify is now a Google for Education partner. For schools using both Snapplify and Google in the classroom, the new Google partnership means greater value, lighter administration, and the ability to build an adaptable digital education ecosystem that works for each particular institution. The development underlines great investment in the education industry by tech companies who are working together to create real change.
Snapplify’s award-winning digital education solutions give students a competitive edge both inside and outside the classroom by removing obstacles, and improving access to ebooks and digital learning tools. Snapplify’s e-learning platform, Engage, provides schools of all sizes with the tools they need to digitally transform their classrooms and seamlessly integrate with other powerful, globally recognised education tools – like Google Classroom.
‘Snapplify is fully invested in working with schools and as a Google for Education partner we’re in an even better position to support our schools using world-class solutions. We look forward to offering seamless integration between Google and Snapplify’s e-learning products so that the benefits of digital education can be fully realised by more and more schools as they nurture the next generation of great thinkers,’ said Snapplify’s CEO Wesley Lynch.
See how schools like Oakley House School in Cape Town are using Snapplify and Google solutions in the classroom with this short video.
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Snapplify given exclusive distribution rights to Oxford University Press South Africa innovative digital study series, Zoom In
An exclusive partnership between leading local educational publisher, Oxford University Press South Africa, and global edtech company, Snapplify, has made the publisher’s interactive content series, Zoom In, easily available to thousands of learners.
Covering the major South African subjects for Grades 10–12, in both English and Afrikaans, the Zoom In interactive products are designed to help learners tackle tough exam concepts, giving them the confidence to conquer all their exam questions. Interactive resources are integrated throughout, providing opportunities for self-assessment, as well as increased engagement, leading to deeper understanding of the subject matter.
For those signed up to Snapplify’s e-learning platform, Engage, free samples are downloadable, with all additional content available to check out via the digital library. The full series is also available to purchase by individual learners (through Engage or Snapplify’s online store), or in bulk via a school-wide licence.
‘Snapplify is committed to improving access to quality digital educational content, so we’re especially pleased to be distributing the Zoom In series, which really takes digital study to the next level. Using a range of interactive features, such as simulations, animations, games and activities with immediate feedback, videos, and more, Zoom In truly provides learners with the opportunity to get to grips with key concepts in the curriculum,’ said Snapplify’s Operations Director, Mark Seabrook.
The launch of the series comes at an exciting time, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that all public schools will adopt digital education over the next six years – a project in which Snapplify and other stakeholders have been actively involved. While Snapplify’s suite of digital education solutions already aids independent study and provides parents and educators with the reassurance that learners are accessing curated, quality information, content like Zoom In provides additional features to facilitate learning and engagement.
To date, Snapplify has worked with over 1000 schools across the African continent, providing award-winning e-learning solutions and access to a catalogue of over 280 000 titles from leading local and international publishers. Snapplify has been internationally recognised by prestigious third parties – like the Reimagine Education Awards and the London Stock Exchange’s ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ reports (2017 and 2019) – for their unique and diverse innovations in education.
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About Oxford University Press South Africa
Oxford University Press (OUP) is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. OUP is the world’s largest university press with the widest global presence. In South Africa, Oxford University Press is the number one literacy publisher, well-known for their reading schemes, the world’s most trusted dictionaries (including dictionaries in local languages), as well as innovative digital solutions for blended learning. They publish textbooks of high quality in various subject areas for the Basic and Higher Education markets. They pride themselves in taking great care to create content that speaks to the unique context and needs of the local market. Oxford University Press also supports teachers with free teacher workshops and recently launched the Institute of Professional Development for Educators, which offers SACE endorsed training courses earning participating educators CTPD points. All their education materials are of superior quality and they are committed to supplying these at the most affordable prices.
- 2019 report celebrates fast-growing and dynamic private businesses in Africa
- Snapplify named one of Africa’s most inspiring businesses
For a second time, Snapplify has been named one of London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’. The biennial report, which first included Snapplify in 2017, identifies a new cohort of business with the most dynamic growth across Africa.
The companies that were included on the list are privately held, and show an excellent rate of growth and potential to power African development. ‘We publish this report as it is our belief that these firms, and high-growth firms like them, are crucial to the future of the African economy, capable of driving transformative economic growth in their home countries, Africa and beyond,’ said London Stock Exchange Group CEO David Schwimmer in the LSEG foreword.
This accolade follows three prestigious international education awards received by Snapplify late last year. At the Reimagine Education Conference in San Francisco in November 2018, Snapplify took home the Overall EdTech Award and a Reimagine Education Award in the E-Learning category. In Cape Town, Snapplify also took first place at the South African semi-finals for the Global Education StartUps Awards, securing a spot in the global finals in London in January 2019.
‘As a pan-African edtech company that is committed to offering innovative solutions to improve digital education in emerging markets, we are proud to be recognised by the London Stock Exchange Group for the work that we do, and to be included among other highly respected and hard-working African companies,’ said Snapplify CEO Wesley Lynch.
The report, sponsored by Instinctif Partners and Stephenson Harwood, was produced in partnership with African Development Bank Group, CDC Group, PWC and Asoko Insight who contributed their insight and expertise to select the featured companies.
Read the London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘Companies to Inspire Africa 2019’ report online.
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Wesley Lynch, Snapplify’s CEO, will be representing the pan-African educational company on Reimagine Education’s international panel of judges for next year’s prestigious award. Often referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of the Education sector, the Reimagine Awards is a global competition for innovators in education.
This honour follows Snapplify’s recent wins at the Reimagine Education Conference in San Francisco in November 2018, where the company took home the Reimagine Education Overall EdTech Award, as well as the category award for E-Learning.
‘It is a privilege to have been asked to be a judge for this distinguished award. As part of Snapplify’s commitment to innovation and collaboration in the edtech space, we are looking forward to giving back to the education industry through shared knowledge,’ said Lynch.
Jack Moran, Reimagine Education Program Manager, and convener of the judging panel, said: ‘Behind the prestige of the Reimagine Education Awards is a constant commitment to evaluative rigour: a rigour made possible by ensuring that we recruit experts from across the educational spectrum. In keeping with this mission, we are delighted to have secured Mr Lynch’s services for this year’s Awards, whose successes with Snapplify and wealth of experience with e-learning solutions make him ideally placed to assess the next generation of innovations in this space. Having developed an award-winning edtech product for the rapidly growing African market and operating in South Africa, he will also provide essential international insight to a judging panel representing 49 nations across six continents.’
In November 2018, Snapplify took first place at the South African semi-finals for the Global EdTech Startups Awards, securing a spot in the finals in London in January 2019. For a second time, Snapplify was also named one of London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ in 2019. Snapplify’s work with partners to zero-rate hundreds of thousands of digital education ebooks in Africa, and the launch of Basic Engage – a free version of the Engage e-learning platform for students and teachers – have gone a long way to improving access to digital educational content and reducing barriers to entry in emerging markets.
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CAPE TOWN, 21 August 2018 – In the Information Age, distinguishing between decent and poor content can be difficult; but with Snapplify Library, parents and educators can feel reassured that students have access to quality educational material. Snapplify Library – a solution that forms part of Snapplify’s digital education suite – provides instant access to educational resources, making studying easier and even working to improve pass rates.
Snapplify’s Library solution allows institutions to create and manage a digital library easily and effectively, and provides students with easier access to ebooks. Once titles have been selected by an institution, the library is immediately open for use, 24 hours a day – unlike print libraries, which can involve a lengthy acquisition process of curation, ordering, transport, delivery, categorising and shelving, and have restricted opening hours. Snapplify’s extensive catalogue includes over 100 000 library-licensed titles, including top-quality e-textbooks from leading local and international publishers across a variety of subjects, study areas, and grades – from primary school to higher education. The library offering also includes free ebooks from Project Gutenberg, Book Dash, and Siyavula Education, as well as past exam papers for matric students to use.
Snapplify Library allows users within an institution – whether a school, or a higher education institution – to check out library ebooks during the academic year, and for the librarian to control the access and loan period. Returns can also be managed automatically, according to a preset loan period, so there is no risk of books going missing; while the Wait List function systematically assigns specific ebooks to any users in the queue as soon as titles are returned. Other functions for administrators include being able to block inappropriate content and creating a list of ‘librarian top picks’ using Favourites. All users are also able to browse through curated lists of Recommended titles (ebooks recommended by other Library users), as well as Snapplify’s Collections (an extensive list of suggested reads, grouped by themes and chosen by Snapplify staff in consultation with qualified teachers).
‘Ultimately, Snapplify Library is a simple lending model (which mirrors the print model for libraries, but with added benefits). We make it easy for institutions to offer a robust digital library solution to students, while providing usage statistics to validate purchases. These simple and effective solutions make e-learning easier, meaning students are likely to use the platform and have a higher chance of passing,’ said Snapplify’s Higher Education Account Manager Penny de la Plain.
In the digital age, the right to a good education is not out of reach
‘Education promotes equality and lifts people out of poverty. It teaches children how to become good citizens. Education is not just for a privileged few, it is for everyone. It is a fundamental human right.’ – Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations
The right to education is recognised by international law in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet, access to quality education has, historically, remained a luxury or privilege, accessible only to the minority of the global population. Now, technology is transforming approaches to education, and opening up new avenues of learning for everyone.
What is e-learning?
E-learning is an umbrella term for any learning that uses electronic resources. This could be via the internet, a computer program, or mobile app, for example.
Why is e-learning important?
For most of us, regardless of location or economic means, the digital revolution has affected our day-to-day lives in some way. Whether you’re reading this article on your phone, computer, or tablet, there’s no doubt that the way we access and consume information has changed in recent years. In 2016, two-fifths of the sub-Saharan African population owned mobile phones. In fact, in some places mobile phones are more ubiquitous than access to electricity. For many young people today, e-learning is not only an effective way to learn, but it is how they want to learn.
Importantly, e-learning gives students further experience with technology, allowing them to develop their digital skills in the classroom and keep up with the rapid pace of digital development – essential skills for the 21st-century workplace.
E-learning also gives students access to a wider range of content types – from notes to videos, worksheets to audio files. Not only does this keep students actively engaged with their coursework, but it also makes it easier for them to digest new information. This, in turn, allows for a more diverse approach to teaching as educators recognise that each student learns in their own unique way.
How does e-learning work in schools?
Many schools are choosing to implement e-learning, but what this looks like differs from school to school, depending on resources and infrastructure. One school may offer digital education through a shared computer lab, which students access during specific lessons; whereas another may have tablets for each student to use in every class, for example. Whatever a school’s ICT setup, e-learning is possible with a device (or devices) and access to the internet.
For schools with connectivity challenges, Snapplify’s Snappbox offers a way to bring e-learning to unconnected classrooms. The Snappbox, an award-winning hardware distribution solution for ebooks, can be preloaded with digital content. Students can then download ebooks directly from their school’s Snappbox, instead of the internet.
How else does e-learning benefit schools?
Digital distribution is not only much easier than organising the delivery of physical textbooks (which often go out of stock, or don’t arrive in time), but is also more cost effective, especially in the long term.
Analysing user data, using Snapplify’s Insights, gives educators an overview of what students are reading, how quickly they’re progressing, and when they’re interacting with content. This invaluable information empowers educators, allowing them to adapt their teaching approach or adjust the course content, according to their students’ needs. This data can also inform annual budgets, allowing institutions to grow optimally.
What e-learning solutions are out there for emerging market classrooms?
Although e-learning itself is a great leveller, allowing the world’s wider population to access quality education, the adoption of e-learning in emerging market contexts does, unfortunately, still come with certain challenges. Schools in these environments are looking for e-learning solutions that meet their particular needs.
Established in South Africa in 2011, and recently having expanded into East Africa (with offices in Kenya), global edtech company Snapplify has strong roots in Africa. Snapplify has worked to understand each unique market in which it operates – from including mobile-money service M-Pesa as a payment option in its East African store, to developing the Snappbox for schools with limited or no internet access.
Named by the London Stock Exchange Group as one of the Companies to Inspire Africa in 2017, Snapplify was also selected for the World Bank’s XL Africa accelerator programme for Africa’s top digital entrepreneurs. More recently, the company was recognised for its work in education, winning an AppsAfrica.com Innovation Award (2017).
At its heart, this is a company working to make digital education a realistic option for schools in emerging markets. As Snapplify continues to roll out its unique e-learning solutions in Africa, more and more students are able to access their fundamental human right – the right to education.
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Snapplify is a leading global edtech company focused on content distribution, mobile publishing and innovation for digital learning.
Our responsive and interactive e-learning solutions are already being implemented in hundreds of schools. Snapplify for Education, a suite of products for digital reading and e-learning, is transforming classrooms by empowering teachers and students to teach and learn, digitally. Our solutions are industry celebrated and globally recognised for their innovation in technology. Snapplify has won multiple awards for revolutionising ebook distribution for schools. In 2017, Snapplify won the educational prize in the AppsAfrica.com Innovation Awards.
Snapplify originated in South Africa, focusing initially on the South African education and digital content industries. Since its establishment in 2012, the company has grown and expanded into new markets in Africa and the United States, with offices in Africa, Europe and the United States. Snapplify is backed by AngelHub Ventures, a venture capital company backed by former First National Bank CEO Michael Jordaan and the Harris family, as well as international investors.
For more information, please contact Marie-Louise Rouget from Snapplify on email@example.com or +27(0)21 975 7192.
How can we nurture innovative thinking that transforms classrooms and fosters world-class pedagogy?
Imagine: You are a teacher who can tell if your students open, read and interact with a textbook, or the class notes you’ve provided. You can see how much time they’re dedicating to their mathematics textbook, and how long they spend on literature and language studies. You can even see which textbooks are not being opened at all.
And that’s not all. You’re also able to see when your students are studying. Is it in the morning, right before school starts? Is it in the afternoon? Or perhaps only very late at night?
Most importantly, you’re able to consider how these factors affect your students’ grasp of the subject matter, what effects this will have on knowledge retention, and whether there are ways that you can change your teaching practices to account for this and improve pedagogy in your classroom.
The benefits of digital education
There are many significant advantages to choosing to pursue a digital learning framework in the classroom. From simple logistical benefits (procurement is quick and simple, textbooks never go out of stock, students no longer have to lug around heavy bags of books that destroy posture and lead to back pain), to cost considerations (ebooks are most often more affordable than their print counterparts). Digital education makes it simpler than ever to get books to students of all ages.
Other peripheral benefits include teaching students digital literacy skills as you teach other subjects. This allows students to interact, innovate and flourish in ways that prepare them for post-school work environments. These skills – from IT knowledge to problem-solving, collaboration and communication – are essential in the twenty-first century.
But, perhaps one of the most important benefits of digital tools is the underlying ability to track user behaviour and engagement in ways that were never possible in pre-digital classrooms. Now, we’re able to use this information to test how effective teaching strategies are, to compare student outcomes with effort put in, and to highlight gaps quicker.
Using data to build better products
We’ve believed for a long time that accessibility is essential to the successful adoption of digital education tools – it was one of the key motivations that led to Snapplify developing the Snappbox as a tool for ensuring that digital education is accessible in all classrooms, especially in emerging markets.
For us, accessibility includes the availability of devices and connectivity, as well as ease of use and affordability. By supporting both online and offline content delivery, we’re able to make digital learning possible and cheaper for connected and unconnected schools.
The necessity for accessible digital education products is supported by the data we’ve analysed from 500 schools that we work with. The requirement for homework and reading outside of school hours is prevalent through the majority of our partnered schools. While some schools encourage a large amount of reading in classroom hours, the data shows that learners are engaging actively with their textbooks between the hours of 4am and 8am, or 3pm and 6pm. This stresses the need for students to have the ability to use technology outside of school hours.
Given the expense of bandwidth, and the lack of connectivity off-campus (and the fact that access to an internet connection off-campus cannot always be guaranteed), the data demonstrates how important offline access is to content engagement. This not only directs the way Snapplify builds our suite of solutions, but has the potential to empower educators to make better decisions about strategic interventions.
Data as a practical tool in the classroom
With access to analytics showing how specific textbooks are being used, and which content is more engaging and helpful to students, institutions can make informed decisions about procurement and how best to spend their book budget in the coming year.
Further practical implications include using data to prepare for parent-teacher meetings. This information could be used to discuss the ways in which a student is interacting with content, as well as the student’s use of textbooks at home. In some cases, where low marks correspond with low engagement during homework hours, for instance, the data could demonstrate the need for parents to supervise after-school work. These kinds of strategic interventions can positively reinforce a student’s school career.
Adopting a data-driven educational approach
When comparing engagement rates across our partnered schools, we picked up on two key differences in sustained learner engagement over the course of a school year. Scenario one shows low engagement rates in the first term, but then shows level and sustained engagement throughout the rest of the year, and into the final term. In scenario two, we see a drop-off of student engagement as the year progresses.
The data shows us that there are differences in sustained engagement, but also presents a key to assessing why this may be the case. Scenario two measures the efficacy of a more traditional pedagogical technique, where students engage with content heavily during school hours. This points towards a large amount of reading in class, followed by more reading, and practical homework exercises, taking place outside of school hours.
In scenario one we can also see a particular kind of teaching strategy, where content engagement picks up later in the year. Here, students have been given the opportunity to engage with practical work in the first term, focusing on theory afterwards. This gives students something tangible to have in mind when they learn the theory, pushing up engagement rates later on in the year.Scenario one measures the efficacy of a flipped classroom teaching model, where instructional content is delivered digitally at home, and students engage in activities in the classroom – evidenced by a much higher engagement with content after school, and low engagement during school hours.
With each exciting technological development, educators become better equipped to implement e-learning. But we’ve also seen that merely implementing e-learning as a pure replacement for physical textbooks is not enough to revolutionise education. We must ask how students are using the technology and whether it is effective. Data enables us to examine which teaching strategies lead to improved/ sustained learner engagement, and conversely, which strategies struggle to maintain this engagement throughout the year.
Going forward, we should be asking how we can use technology not simply to enhance, but also to inform the way we teach. We have the technology to ask and answer deeper questions about the effectiveness of the education we are offering the next generation, as well as the the tools to develop key strategic interventions that leverage the power, promise and potential that technology has to offer twenty-first century students. With access to this key data, educators can feel empowered to develop new pedagogical processes to transform their classrooms and offer their students a world of possibility through world-class digital education.
A note on our methodology: Snapplify analysed data for this article using our data tracking and visualisation tool for schools: Insights. These analyses are based on data points gathered between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017. Identifying information about any schools that we work with, and whose data we may have been analysed in the process of writing this article, has been removed to respect privacy of these institutions and their students.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about your specific needs and how we can work together.With Snapplify Insights, you can analyse big data to monitor students’ usage and analyse behaviour. Looking back on the school year, you can identify trends that can be used to inform your content choices and teaching strategies. Based on this insightful data, your institution can grow and learn, in order to transform your approach to teaching and learning.
The Snappbox is a unique e-learning solution for emerging markets
In today’s digital world, learning shouldn’t be determined by location, and limited internet shouldn’t mean limited education. Snapplify’s Snappbox has been a game-changer for schools across Africa by increasing access to digital content, especially in areas with low connectivity.
What is the Snappbox?
The Snappbox is Snapplify’s hardware distribution solution for ebooks. The device can be preloaded with educational content, which students can then access directly through their school.
Snapplify CEO Wesley Lynch remembers: “Launching at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012 was a particularly great moment. We came up with the idea, built the product (the Snappbox) and launched it at a major international event. It was humbling to go over there with this South African idea and see how big, established companies actually took us seriously. Some major players signed on straight away, and we left Frankfurt knowing that this was something special.”
Snapplify’s Snappbox went on to win one of the highest global publishing awards in the book industry, the FutureBook Award for Tech Innovation, and has been used successfully in South African, Namibian, Zambian and Kenyan schools.
Why is the Snappbox important for emerging markets?
In areas where connectivity is poor, or even where there is no internet at all, the Snappbox serves as an easy solution for getting educational content to students.
The Snappbox can be preloaded with thousands of ebooks, which students can access instantly offline. Students get these digital books directly from their school’s Snappbox, rather than downloading each ebook individually from the internet.
Since each ebook is only downloaded once (onto the Snappbox), schools and students save on bandwidth costs (on average, R400 000 to R600 000 per institution) and up to 166 hours in download time. When connected, the Snappbox syncs with the Cloud, so students always have access to the most up-to-date textbook editions.
How can schools use the Snappbox?
Many institutions like to choose the content that is loaded onto their Snappbox. Schools have the option to preload thousands of ebooks onto the device (this works well for schools with poor connectivity) or to download their own ebooks later.
Snapplify also works hand in hand with education departments who wish to do bulk rollouts to multiple schools. In these cases, specific titles are preloaded onto each device and then sent to schools, with everything they need to begin e-learning.
Wherever your school is based and whatever your internet connection is like, there’s no reason you can’t bring digital education into your classroom successfully. Snapplify’s Snappbox makes implementing e-learning both possible and easy, allowing any school to offer its students world-class education.
Email email@example.com to chat about your specific needs and how we can work together.
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